Kounellis was born in Piraeus, Greece in 1936. World War II and ten years of civil war were backdrops to his childhood. In 1956, he moved to Rome and by 1960 was an active member of the Arte Povera movement. Kounellis has long combined art and history with the immediacy and tangibility of the present. Kounellis lives and works in Rome. His first New York solo show was in 1972. Recently, he has had exhibitions at the Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens, Greece (2012); the Museum of Contemporary Art, Herning, Denmark (2009); the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, Germany (2007); the MADRE Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Donnaregina, Naples, Italy (2006); and the Galeria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Rome, Italy (2002), among others. Kounellis’s work is represented in many national and international collections.